Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Living with In-laws
I live with my in-laws and there is free intermingling amongst the brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. I come from a conservative home and am very uncomfortable in this situation. How do I live in such a home without getting involved in an informal relationship with the men in the home? Is there any proof in respect to keeping one’s distance from one’s brother-in-law? How should I dress before my father-in-law? What does Shari'ah say about having male servants? Because my in-laws keep male servants to do the housework also.
Respected Sister in Islam,
Wa-alaykumus Salaam wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakaatuhu
1.) Sadly, we live in a time, where people are extremely lax in respect to the laws of Shari'ah. As a result, innumerable problems abound – more especially on the home-front, with marital disputes, infidelity, disobedience of children and so forth. It seems as if a fire is burning in almost every home due to indulgence in sins. ...Intermingling with the opposite sex is a sin, but is no longer frowned upon by the majority. It is rather considered a norm.
2.) It is not permissible to associate with one’s brother-in-law (or sisters-in-law for males) in an informal or intimate manner. You should associate with the ladies, but if you are living in such a home as described in your letter, then observe the following :
- Keep the scarf low over the forehead.
- Wear a loose modest dress or cloak.
- Lower your gaze when crossing any non-mahram persons.
- Do not engage in chit-chat with brothers-in-law and ghayr-mahareem.
- Talk only what is essential with male servants, in a straightforward manner.
3.) Your father-in-law is a Mahram, but if he is young or he is of low morals, some degree of “purdah” must be maintained, although the face can remain uncovered.
4.) Proof is in the Qur`aan and Sunnah. Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said that the brother-in-law is like death. …This is because if there is an informal and close relationship, it can easily lead to an illicit relationship and break-down in marriage. There is no shortage of proof of the same, in many, many families – where sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law have fallen into adulterous relationships, etc. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.
Was-Salaamu alaykum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakaatuhu
Yunus Patel (Maulana)